tidBiTS
Informs and engages the UNB community on IT developments and news

Management Briefing - Office 365 rollout

Author: ITS

Posted on Dec 9, 2016

Category: General Interest , Management Briefings , Projects

ITS has begun planning the implementation of Office 365 (O365) for faculty and staff. Over the next several months, many activities behind the scenes will be taking place to ensure a seamless experience when the migration actually begins in the spring of 2017. O365 is Microsoft’s cloud service providing email, calendar, and personal file storage. UNB students, alumni, and retirees have been using O365 for years; by integrating faculty and staff accounts with O365, exceptional opportunities for internal collaboration, seamless communication, increased efficiency and reduced costs will finally be realized.

The migration process

Over the next couple of months, ITS will migrate accounts for trial groups comprised of ITS staff, Level 1s, and volunteers from across the university. The migration process entails copying account data and contents from our current, on-premises systems to the new Microsoft environment (each institution is assigned ‘tenant’ space in the Microsoft cloud—this is where our accounts physically reside). As each group is migrated, we will carefully monitor results to ensure that no account data and content is lost, that the voicemail service works as expected, and that any technical configuration issues are detected and resolved. Calendar data and functionality will receive special attention; other schools that have gone through this process have advised that calendar entries (and in particular calendar delegation) can be tricky.

Armed with this experience, ITS will begin migrating the bulk of staff and faculty accounts in May, 2017. We’ll go by departments and faculties, all of which will be advised well in advance of the actual move; the migration process is managed by ITS staff, but Level 1s will be on the ground to ensure everything goes smoothly for individuals, including reconfiguring mail settings, ensuring calendars are populated correctly, and that personal documents and files are migrated properly and completely. They’ll be available to answer any questions you may have about the new services, and ITS will have an extensive FAQ covering pretty much all O365 topics (the FAQ already exists, but will continue to expand over the next several months; you can go there now.

Deferral option

It is expected that some accounts won’t be migrated over the spring and summer of 2017. There are various reasons for this, chiefly individuals on sabbatical or other leaves, and who won’t wish to transition to the new service without the support of ITS and Level 1 staff. A deferral option will be offered prior to the main migration period; those who opt for this will have their accounts migrated when they return, but in any case before the end of March, 2018, when licenses for our current on-premises email and calendar services expire.

Many more communications about O365 for faculty and staff will be distributed over the coming months. We’ll also update the O365 project page (found at go.unb.ca/o365), providing details on the status of our planning and the migration itself. Finally, we’ll ensure that every staff and faculty member receives the right level of support and information needed to make the transition as smooth and hassle-free as possible. ITS is very excited to provide this new service, which will help support UNB’s mission for years to come.

December 9, 2016, Terry Nikkel, AVP, ITS